- Go to http://www.google.com/ and find your business, if you get to the places page and see this message, you know you still have to claim your page.
- Once you have gone through the steps to claim your listing, you will be able to add any basic information that is missing, including hours of operation, address and phone numbers. List your name, address and exact phone numbers as Google doesn’t take kindly to geographic or keyword stuffing. If you have a toll free number, you can add more than one phone number, but list your local phone number first as this will help to localize your listing.
- You next step will be to choose your keywords, categories and description information. You can choose up to 5 categories to describe your business, if possible use all five, but choose only those that accurately describe your business and avoid location words as Google doesn’t like them here. Your description, on the other hand, can and should include geographic or location keywords, while still being easy to read.
- After this step is completed, it is time to add photos and video to your profile. Add at least one photo, even if it is only a logo or photo of the outside of your location. Also consider adding geotagged images to Google Picasa or Flickr. By adding geotagged images to these sites and linking them back to your Places page, you are providing Google with additional geographic data. You can also add up to five YouTube video URLs and since YouTube is now a Google company, it certainly won’t hurt to do so. Video is an engaging medium and adds a compelling image to consumers who visit your Places page.
- Ratings and reviews are important to your rankings, so ask frequent customers to rate you online. It’s not advised to post your own reviews, but if you can get a few positive reviews online it will certainly help the cause.
- Relevance – Google only shows you those listings that are relevant to your search. For example, if you search for sporting goods stores, they won’t show you listings for car dealerships and fast food chains.
- Prominence – Prominence is determined by how well known those stores are based on sources across the web.
- Distance – Distance is calculated based on how far the stores are from the locatiaon you typed in your search or from your general location.
aa a a a a Google Tags is a flat rate, online advertising product. While Google Boost is a per click advertising product. Neither affect the ranking of your business on Google or Google Maps. Google HotPot on the other hand can affect the ranking of your business’ local search result. It is Google’s new local recommendation engine that allows users to rate and review stores, restaurants, and businesses, and then share these reviews with friends. When logged in, Google HotPot will also send you personalized recommendations based on the ratings you and your friends provide with the goal of providing you with exposure to new places you might otherwise not have visited. As Google continues to evolve and add new products to its local search toolkit, it is vital that you have a firm foundation to stand on. Now is the time to ensure that your Google Places listing is claimed and that all information is correct. Firm up your Google Places listing now and start exploring the options available with Google Tags, Boost and HotPot. Then see what happens to your local search rankings!